Anorexia nervosa (anorexia) is a serious eating disorder with three major elements:
- A highly distorted body image.
- Stubbornly refusing to maintain a healthy weight range.
- An overwhelming phobia of gaining even the smallest amount of weight.
People who suffer from anorexia eat as little food as possible and try to starve the weight off. One millimeter of fat is too much for them; sadly, anorexia can be a fatal disease, because it will be easy to become malnourished.
Often times, even when people wind up in hospital because of this problem, they still won’t see it as serious as it actually is, because they will be in a strong, unwavering denial.
About 90% of the people who suffer from anorexia are women; the disorder is most common during puberty, when the body goes through significant changes. Approx. one in every hundred women in the US have anorexia. As a general rule, if the weight drops 15% or more of what is considered to be “normal” weight, that person is regarded as having anorexia.
The medical cause of anorexia isn’t known. Sometimes it can be a genetic inheritance. There are also social, environmental and psychological elements to the illness. Being overweight, having low self-esteem and being bullied or abused are all possible triggers.
If you have anorexia, you will usually be an overachiever and a perfectionist. Most people suffering with anorexia are excellent students, are involved in many community activities and are well-liked.
The desire of looking better or different is often times normal. However, anorexia increases these desires and pushes people into doing things to achieve their goals that many healthy persons wouldn’t do.
If you have anorexia, you will do anything in your power to avoid eating food. If forced to eat, you will only eat a tiny amount. You will try to avoid being around food. If somebody confronts you, you’ll deny having a problem; still, as this disorder becomes more serious and time passes, it will get harder to hide your condition from your family and friends. You will stop socializing, because then you won’t have to pretend that you are fine.
Anorexia sometimes happens as a way of controlling one aspect of your life, especially when you have difficulties controlling other parts. It can be a method for distracting you, in case that you have to deal with difficult situations. You may even feel a sense of achievement if you manage not to eat.
Anorexics often spend a lot of time in front of a mirror, analyzing their body for any flaws, especially if there is any weight that can be removed. Scales will be a big part of their lives, as weighing in every day to see if more weight has been lost becomes a ritual.
Your whole body will be affected if you have anorexia for any length of time. You can’t perform at peak efficiency if you are not getting enough nutrients and energy. You will become mentally and physically weaker, and even some of your normal tasks will seem impossible to handle.
Anorexia is a very serious disorder. If you have it, you must get help from your doctor before it causes permanent damage. If you know somebody with this condition, get help for them. They may resent you for it at first, but they will definitely thank you later.